May 23, 2024
Looking after your family is a full time job. And all too often it's easy to lose yourself in that job and forget about your own wellbeing. In this episode Faith and Lynda discuss the importance of the often overlooked relationship between mind, body, spirit and the health and wellness of the military spouse. Joining in this story are Giovanna Reyes-Alexander and Payal Talwar. Giovanna is an Army spouse who holds multiple degrees in nutrition and dietetics and has shared her knowledge in these areas with people from across the globe. Payal Talwar is married to a Soldier in the Indian Military and brings her expertise in Neuro Linguistic Programming, Life and Performance coaching and training, and is a Law of Attraction trainer. Learn how to set an intention for the day when you first wake up, because body and mind are part of the same system and have to work in tandem.

Looking after your family is a full time job. And all too often it’s easy to lose yourself in that job and forget about your own wellbeing. In this episode Faith and Lynda discuss the importance of the often overlooked relationship between mind, body, spirit and the health and wellness of the military spouse. Joining in this story are Giovanna Reyes-Alexander and Payal Talwar. Giovanna is an Army spouse who holds multiple degrees in nutrition and dietetics and has shared her knowledge in these areas with people from across the globe. Payal Talwar is married to a Soldier in the Indian Military and brings her expertise in Neuro Linguistic Programming, Life and Performance coaching and training, and is a Law of Attraction trainer. Learn how to set an intention for the day when you first wake up, because body and mind are part of the same system and have to work in tandem.

If we can look after our children and we can look after our spouse, what stops us from looking after ourselves? We need to be nourished – nourishing the soul, the mind, the body – everything.

EPISODE TAKEAWAYS:

  1. Any journey begins at the beginning. Giovanna talks about assessing your starting point via objective and subjective criteria. Without knowing your starting point can you really have a well-defined ending point? It takes at least two points to define a path.
  2. Objective – What is your health status? Recent physical? Are you overweight or underweight? How is your blood pressure? Your blood sugar?
    • Subjective – I want to start a CrossFit class. I’d like to climb a flight of stairs and not feel winded. I want to have more energy when I play with my kids.
    • The entire process is marriage of the tangible and the intangible. The mind affects the body and the body affects the mind. You have to find the confidence to carry out any plan you develop. You need to challenge yourself to keep your mind engaged but it needs to be reasonable, attainable goals that you can measure and plot your progress.
  3. You will encounter difficulties and roadblocks along the way. Every PCS move is a break down and rebuild of your life in an unfamiliar environment. Temporary lodging, new grocery stores, gyms etc. these are all distractions and barriers to establishing a healthy routine for you and your family. Moving is stressful. You’re allowed to be a little blue. Payal says it’s important to remember the number of times you’ve gone through it before, and more importantly the number of times you’ve gotten through it before.
  4. When it comes to those barriers and difficulties – stop seeing them as absolutes. A failure or a setback today doesn’t have to impact your tomorrow. It’s a new day to succeed and yesterday’s problem shouldn’t impact today except to motivate you to try harder.
  5. You have to see yourself as a fighter and someone who succeeds. Your self-identity, the label you give yourself will influence and drive your actions and your attitude. Believe in yourself and stay positive in your vision.
  6. Despite Faith’s outstanding answer of “with hot sauce” the best way to eat the elephant is one bite at a time. Break down projects and goals into small doable tasks. Enjoy each small success and tackle them with renewed energy and before long you’ll cross the finish line.
  7. A healthy diet looks different for everybody. But Giovanna cautions any diet that is exclusionary in nature. Anything that tells you to completely eliminate and food group is going to be problematic. You will feel deprived when you’re not eating the item and guilty when you break down and slip up.
  8. Payal encourages everyone to enjoy and embrace food for the nutrition it provides and the family time and fellowship we typically share during mealtimes. Take control of food and portion sizes. Learn to savor the food instead of rushing to consume.
  9. When you feel like you’ve reached a plateau the hard work starts. You have to take a serious look and evaluate if you’re still working as hard as when you saw results. If the answer is no, if you’ve let your intensity slide then it’s time to be honest with yourself and step it up again. If you are still working as hard as before, then it’s time to change things up and evolve. Your body and your muscle groups need a little bit of confusion to start seeing movement again. This may be the time to seek external help and resources. Trainers, new fitness classes or dietitians are great places to look for change.
  10. Healthy at 50 doesn’t look the same as healthy at 25. Be realistic about the stage of life you are in and what you’re trying to achieve. It goes back to setting reasonable, attainable goals that you can measure. Anything else will leave you frustrated and disappointed.
  11. Listen to your body and be prepared to adjust your exercise regimen and your diet. Nobody is saying make excuses, but pain and injuries can often be avoided by understanding when you’re pushing too hard. As Giovanna says maybe what you really need today instead of a poorly executed run around the neighborhood is a yoga class, or a serious stretching session.
  12. In summary:
    • Set reasonable, attainable goals
    • Develop a plan on how to achieve them
    • Break that plan into smaller subtasks
    • Make good choices about your exercise and diet that support those tasks
    • Don’t get discouraged by setbacks, each day is a fresh start and you’re a fighter
    • Enjoy the journey with friends and family as you continuously move towards your ultimate success

Giovanna Reyes-Alexander holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Ecology: Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of the West Indies. She also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Institutional and Community Nutrition and Dietetics from UWI. She earned a Master’s in Public Health, with a nutrition concentration from Tulane University. She has a wide array of experience, having worked at the Port of Spain General Hospital in Trinidad and Tobago as Registered Dietitian, and as a research field data-collection supervisor for a food security study. She also interned at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and edited a Caribbean cuisine cookbook. Alongside her military spouse, she has extensive travel experience having lived in Louisiana, Germany, California, Nevada, Kentucky, and now Pennsylvania. She will be moving to Germany this summer.

Payal Talwar is a Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Life and Performance coach and trainer, and a Law of Attraction trainer. She holds an MBA in Human Resources and a Master’s in science. She has worked with corporations as well as educational institutes and individuals. She loves working with people to enable them to shift their mindsets and to empower them to optimally utilize all their internal and external resources. She is married to a Soldier in the Indian military.

Faith Bomar is not as funny as she thinks she is, according to her loving Army officer husband of nineteen years. She is the mother of four children only because it seemed like a good idea at the time and as a result of this, she has changed dirty diapers from CA to PA and on three different continents. When avoiding cooking dinner she spends her time working outside of the home as a Doula and giving her time away to the community as a perpetually unprofessional volunteer.

Lynda Lind has spent the last 15 years as a Navy wife and devoted volunteer. She is a stay-at-home mother of 2 with the survival skills needed for 7 moves and multiple deployments. She likes to spend her free time cooking and sewing, and has loved this year learning more about how the Army does things.

The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.

Photo Credit: Fitness food photo created by schantalao – www.freepik.com

Other releases in the “Mil Spouse Edition”:

The MIL SPOUSE EDITION TEAM

2 thoughts on “OUR HEALTH & WELLNESS STORY: TAKING CARE OF YOU
(MIL SPOUSE EDITION)

  1. I try to listen to the War room podcast on my way to work at least once a week if not more. Today was first mil spouses listen. I loved it!
    You description of the PSC blues is defiantly what I went through followed by extreme disappointment with my new unit itself, then followed by family health issues. You are not alone. It has been a really hard year for me (AGR) and my husband (mil spouse). He is not able to be with me as much on this PCS due to distance from home, which he farms and maintains. His support and encouragement is ever present; however, not having his presence here this time, has challenged us more.
    What I can also agree with is when I decided to stop crying and just accept reality, it got better.
    Remembering there are just some things you can change and having faith that God put me here for a reason gives me hope.
    Thank you for your work with the podcast. I will defiantly list to more mil spouse editions.
    Episode 316 health and wellness

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